halfway smile – young writers anthology

We are excited to say, halfway smile is here and available to buy! This wonderfully moving and diverse anthology showcases 73 works of poetry, short story and flash — the work of a whopping 69 young and emerging writers in the region including award winners Warda Yassin, Eloise Unerman and Georgie Woodhead. It also celebrates the winners of our inaugural Hive Young Writers’ Competition, open to young writers from across the region.

A wonderful gift for fiction and poetry lovers and a snip at £6.00!

“An astonishingly vibrant, varied and accomplished collection — a real treat awaits the reader here.” Kate Long


“This is writing that bubbles with promise, that shows real application of the craft of writing, and that gives the reader a sense of exhilaration at the ways in which these young writers manipulate language, play with it, and make it jump through hoops. Read and enjoy!” Ian McMillan

Buy halfway smile

You can buy halfway smile in Sheffield at the wonderful All Good Stuff at Butcher Works on Arundel Street (near the uni and train station). Or if you can’t get to the shop, we can deliver by post. You can pay by internet bank transfer or Paypal.

If by post, drop us a line to halfwaysmile@hivesouthyorkshire.com with: 1) the amount of copies you’d like 2) how you’d like to pay (Paypal or bank transfer). We’ll get back promptly confirming the amount with details of how to pay.

1 copy £6.00 + £1.30 pp (total £7.30)
(If you’d like to purchase more copies, do contact us for a price)
Why is it so cheap you might ask? Because we want it to be accessible to everyone, young and old. Proceeds go back into the project. 

This is a limited edition, not-for-profit publication in part funded
by Arts Council of England |www.hivesouthyorkshire.com

Readings – Eloise Unerman Ledbury Festival 2018

At the end of June, Barnsley young poet, Eloise Unerman, who attends Rotherham Young Writers, had the exciting opportunity to be young poet in residence at the Ledbury Poetry Festival.

As the winner of the young person’s category of the Ledbury Poetry Festival Poetry Competition 2017, Eloise was asked to attend the 2018 festival and write a poem especially for it, and talk about her inspirations as a poet. She also gave a reading of some of her work.

Phillippa Slinger, Festival Manager said: I can’t tell you how lovely it was to have Eloise here. She read beautifully at the Launch event featuring Young Foyles and all visiting poets including international stars Jackie Kay and Major Jackson. Eloise joined in many other events, and even came to the poets’ supper and got to mingle with loads of national and international poets. It is so much the aim of the young poet in residence scheme to allow young poets to develop in whatever way they can, and she really made the most of all her opportunities here. We are immensely grateful to Eloise for spending her time so fruitfully here.

Eloise reading 04.53 to Bristol (her winning poem) at the Ledbury Poetry Competition Winners Event

Eloise reading various poems at the festival launch event

Eloise talking about her inspirations as a writer & performing her poem Ledbury, specially written for the festival

Ledbury Poetry Festival do a wonderful job of bringing poets into the festival family and supporting them and encouraging them back again in future, and we just want to say a massive thank you to the festival and to Phillippa Slinger for their ongoing support of young and emerging, as well as established, writers.

To hear all of the wonderful readings from this year’s festival, click here

The Young Poet in Residence scheme is supported by Foyles as part of the Festival’s Emerging Poets Programme which includes: Ledbury Emerging Critics (link), Voice Coaching residential workshop, 20 mins events and competition winners’ events.

Eloise Unerman bio

Eloise Unerman is a young writer from Goldthorpe, Barnsley who writes poetry and short stories. She is a member of the Hive Young Writers network, and recently joined The Writing Squad. She was awarded the Cuckoo Northern Writers Awards in 2017, and her poetry has won first prize in the young people’s categories of the Barnsley Hear My Voice competition 2017 and the Ledbury Poetry Competition 2017. She has since been awarded young poet in residence for the Ledbury Poetry Festival 2018 where she’s been commissioned to write her first poem.

Eloise received a commendation in both Photofictions 2014 and Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2017 and she was shortlisted for the New Poets Prize 2016/17. She has been published in anthologies: Everyday Hymn (Writing Yorkshire 2015), Anthology of Young Poets (Paper Swans Press 2017), Introduction X (The Poetry Business 2017), Wild Poetry (Hive 2017), Cuckoo Press Issue 6 in NARC magazine in 2017 and Foyle Young Poets of the Year Online Anthology (The Poetry Society 2018).

Young Writers’ Open Mic & anthology launch

Young Writers’ Open Mic & Hive anthology launch
Fri 13th July | 7.30pm – 10pm
Where: Theatre Delicatessen, Theatre Deli, 202 Eyre Street, Sheffield S1 4QZ
Street view her: https://www.instantstreetview.com/@53.373614,-1.473716,249.95h,-0.38p,1z 

We’re calling you … young people (14-30s) from across South Yorkshire! Time to kick back, relax and start the summer! Come and enjoy positive and supporting vibes and the launch of our fab new anthology chock-a-block with amazing writing from young and emerging writers including the winners of our recent competition.
And if you write poems, tell stories, compose lyrics, spit bars, or have anything else to say out loud to a supportive audience, this is an evening to celebrate your words, ideas and talents in a warm atmosphere.

Hosted by Serin Thomasin from Verse Matters

Events are open to all, both new and experienced. Reserve a definite slot here, or put your name down on the night (slots limited).

A partnership with Verse Matters

Interview with author Richard Chizmar

Despite its many negatives, social media can be very useful. I found this out the day I sent Richard Chizmar a tweet asking to interview him. I was skeptical of receiving a response from the popular American author of Gwendy’s Button Box who has co-written with Stephen King. Imagine my surprise when he replied only two minutes later!

Interview: El Barham

How and when did you start writing creatively?
I started writing stories when I was very young. Maybe eight or nine years old. I would sit at my desk in my bedroom and write them longhand in a notebook. Usually monster or war stories. Then I would illustrate them.

Are there any books or people who inspired you to write?When I was younger, comic books and scary movies and the old Alfred Hitchcock anthologies inspired me to write my own stories. When I got a little older, writers like Stephen King and Ray Bradbury made me want to grow up to be an author.

Who are your favourite authors and what are your favourite books?
My all time favorites are IT by Stephen King, BOY’S LIFE by Robert McCammon and LORD OF THE FLIES.

What’s the reason you write?
I’ve always been drawn to writing as a way to help make sense of the world around me and as a way of simply entertaining myself.

What inspires your work?
I find inspiration everyone around me. Whether it’s a person, a place, a particular moment in time…if it intrigues me, makes me think, or have a strong emotional reaction, I like to write about it.

Have you had any formal training in Creative Writing and is it useful?
The only formal training I’ve had is a single writing class in college. Great instructor who taught me a lot. Other than that, I’ve learned on the job — by reading everything I can get my hands on and writing as often as possible.

Did you always want to be an author and if not, what did you want to be?
I wanted to be a professional baseball player when I was a kid. By the time I hit my teenage years, I wanted to write and create my own worlds. This has all been a dream come true for me.

What is your writing process?
I’m pretty busy helping to run Cemetery Dance Publications and being a dad to two boys, so my writing schedule fluctuates from day to day. When I’m deep into a story, though, I try to knock out as much as I can in the morning and early afternoon. Those late night writing marathons are a thing of the past for me.

Presumably you’ve never caused mass destruction with a button box, but do you write from experience?
I write a lot of stories based on real life experience — not the Button Box, thank God! — but other tales regarding everything from loss and regret to misadventure and cancer.

How do you create such vibrant and compelling characters?
When it comes to characters, I simply try to crawl into their skin and see the world from their eyes. If I can do that, I can understand how they think and talk and act.

And finally, what advice do you have for young writers?
Best advice I can give is to read a lot and write a lot. And embrace rejection and failure as part of the process. Consider it you earning your way.

Big thanks to Richard Chizmar – find out more at: richardchizmar.com

Congrats Georgie!

We are delighted that Georgie Woodhead of Sheffield Young Writers is one of two highly commended young writers in the prestigious Northern Writers –  Cuckoo Award 2018! Georgie had just turned 15 when she applied for the award, which is open to young writers from 14 to 18 from across the North of England. Her whole portfolio had been written at just 14!)

Georgie says: “I’m so happy to have won this! It’s so great that there are opportunities like this. And without Hive and all the support it provides there would be young people everywhere oblivious to the importance of having a voice, and unaware of the power they have to use it.”

The Northern Writers Awards Scheme is a talent development programme recognising unpublished, work-in-progress by new and established writers from across the North of England. The scheme worth £43,000 and now in its 19th year, is run by New Writing North with funding from Arts Council England and support from Northumbria University.

Congratulations to all Northern Writer Award winners listed here. Photos courtesy of New Writing North.

Are you a young writer in South Yorkshire? Hive runs a network of young groups in Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley & Doncaster and we are currently recruiting for new members to start from the autumn. Find out more here.

More about the Northern Writers Award

The Northern Writers’ Awards is an innovative and progressive talent development programme, which supports writers to achieve their creative ambitions at all stages of their careers. This year the awards attracted over 1,200 entries. The awards recognise unpublished work-in-progress by new and established writers in the North of England.

The Northern Writers’ Awards are produced by New Writing North with funding from Arts Council England and support from Northumbria University, Channel 4 and North East Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s awards are worth £43,000 in support, bursaries and cash prizes, and were judged by the literary agent Elise Dillsworth, authors Juno Dawson and Richard T Kelly and poet Clare Pollard. The editor and journalist Peter Wilby judged the Clare Swift Short Story Award and writers Debbie Taylor and Margaret Wilkinson judged the Andrea Badenoch Fiction Award.

Awards include development opportunities with partners including Channel 4, Lime Pictures, Bonafide Films, Oneworld Publications, The Poetry School, Arvon, The Literary Consultancy, and the Society of Authors, as well as cash prizes, which buy writers time to complete their work.

Northern Writers’ Awards have now been awarded to 254 writers since they were founded in 2000. This year’s cohort follow in the footsteps of successful previous winners including Chloe Daykin, whose debut children’s novel Fish Boy was published by Faber to great acclaim earlier this year; Mark Illis, whose young adult novel The Impossible will be published by Quercus this July; and poet Mark Pajak, who recently won a prestigious Eric Gregory Award.


New Writing North is the reading and writing development agency for the north of England, and is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. It works in partnership with regional and national partners to produce a range of literary and performance activities including flagship projects such as the Northern Writers’ Awards, Read Regional, Cuckoo Young Writers, the Gordon Burn Prize, the David Cohen Prize for Literature and Durham Book Festival. www.newwritingnorth.com

About Northumbria University

Northumbria University, Newcastle is a research-rich, business-focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. Complementing its work with New Writing North and Channel 4, the University works with a range of high profile cultural partners, including BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Live Theatre, Great North Run Culture and Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums providing students with industry exposure and live project opportunities.  We were awarded the Times Higher Education Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts in 2012, as well as the Journal’s Culture Award for Best Arts and Business Partnership in 2013. Northumbria University’s Art and Design courses were ranked Top 10 in the UK for Research Power following the Research Excellence Framework 2014 and the University was ranked Top 50 in the UK – its highest ever league table position – in the Guardian University League Table 2017. www.northumbria.ac.uk

Warda Yassin wins New Poets Prize

We are so delighted that Warda Yassin is a winner of the New Poets Award 2018!

Along with three other young poets – Joe Carrick-Varty Tristram, Fane Saunders & Emma Jeremy, (congratulations to all!), Warda flies the flag for the North, and for both her Somali and English cultures which she combines so beautifully in her work.

Kayo Chingonyi on Warda’s collection, ‘Tea with Cardamom’
These poems struck me as wonderfully contemporary while gesturing towards something ancient in their frequent recourse to that which is passed down as well as that which we improvise as our own pathways unfold. The poems invoke a world within a world making for a multi-layered perspective on life in the UK at the present moment.

Bagging the prestigious and highly sought after award offers Warda mentoring to publication in 2019 through The Poetry Business.

Warda says: “The input and encouragement I’ve receive makes me feel anything is possible. I’d like to see more young Somali writers. I hope I can encourage that.”

Warda started her writing journey at the end of 2012 when she attended a set of poetry for well being community sessions in Sheffield with poet, Vicky Morris from Hive. From there, Vicky started offering opportunities to get involved in other projects and over the last few years, Warda has gone from strength to strength taking every chance to progress her writing and try new things. In 2016 she joined The Writing Squad and has recently been anthologised in Introduction X (The Poetry Business), and Verse Matters (Valley Press).

For more information, and to purchase 2017’s New Poets publications (hot off the press!) visiting The Poetry Business

The Motley Muse

On Saturday 19th May we were delighted to be invited to The Motley Muse –  a day of talks and readings from some of the country’s leading poets, academics, editors and critics organised by the Ted Hughes Network at the University of Huddersfield in partnership with the Poetry Centre at Leeds University.

Hive young poets Eloise Unerman and Warda Yassin were invited to join a fine line-up of poets including Jay Bernard and Claire Pollard.

We were so proud of both, who did wonderful readings to open each half of the afternoon programme, flying the flag for Hive and their own brilliant work.

A huge thanks to Steven Ely and team for a wonderful, insightful day, and for giving a great platform to two fine young poets!
For more on The Motley Muse click here

“I’m so happy to have been invited! It was a great day, and I heard from some great poets.” Eloise Unerman


“Thank you. It was such a fantastic opportunity and programme and I felt lucky to be reading among such amazing writers. It’s been a huge confidence boost for me and it was so lovely to be so well received.” Warda Yassin

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Hive festival coverage from Write Radio!

The wonderful crew at Sheffield Live Fm’s Write Radio – Sez Thomasin, Wilson and Spleeny – have produced a wonderful show around Hive Young Writers Festival that took place on 14th April 2018 with lots of great interviews and performances from young writers they found milling around on the day. Check out the part 1 and 2 links broadcast on Friday 11th May here. And if it’s disappeared into the ether, you can relisten below! Big warm thanks to the Write Radio crew for coming along and picking up some fab sound bites, poems and the general good vibes of the day! And do go and check out Sheffield Live for all kinds of great shows.

The show features words from Eloise Unerman, Fionn McClouskey, Johny A, Dom Heslop (Devoted 1), Beth Davies, Kirsten Luckins (Apples & Snakes), Molly Ridley, Salma Lynch, Isaac Stovell, Jazz Walton, Jess Connelly & more, with shout outs to Gorilla Poetry, Suzannah Evans Confusion Species and others!
Part 1

Part 2

In my Words Project – Creative writing & wellbeing (Barnsley)

Female? 15 to 25 in Barnsley? Boost your mood and be creative!
In my Words Project – Creative writing for wellbeing
In partnership with Creative Minds

Sometimes, as the saying goes – life gives us lemons! Come along to these fun sessions as part of the In my Words project, and boost your mood while being creative as a way of helping you to better tackle life’s lemons, stresses and strains.

All abilities & interests welcome. You don’t have to think you’re a great writer to come along. It will be a supportive, fun and relaxed group. The project runs from July 2018 and will end in autumn with a book launch showcasing some of the work produced on the project – so it’s a chance to get published too!

Sessions will take place in Barnsley town centre once a week/fortnight. We are currently gathering interest so we can decide when and where so please get in touch soon!

Contact Vicky at info@hivesouthyorkshire.com – or if relevant, ask a support service you work with to get in touch for you. You can download a flyer to print here

In partnership with Creative Minds
Creative Minds is all about the use of creative approaches and activities in healthcare; increasing self-esteem, providing a sense of purpose, developing social skills, helping community integration and improving quality of life. We develop community partnerships to not only co-fund but also co-deliver projects for local people.

Alternative Theatre with Andy Cook

Alternative Theatre – knocking down the 4th wall & other creative vandalism
Hive Young Writers’ Day in partnership with The Writing Squad
When: Saturday (TBC September date) – from 10.30-4pm at Theatre Deli

Does a play have to start with a huge script, or can one be written on the spot in less than 20 minutes? What happens if your actors don’t pretend they can’t see the audience? And how do you set a play in a staircase? Or down a phone? Or, what if your audience are the ones that have to do the acting!?

Questions…questions… join writer & theatre maker, Andy Cook of Forest Sounds Theatre, to explore some of these alternative approaches to theatre and what a ‘play’ might consist of using props, prompts, improv and more for a fun day exploring the answers.

This is a workshop for writers of any form, at any level of experience, wanting an opportunity to explore different ways of getting their writing into a live context using performance, sound, space and technology. Alternative theatre can be monologue, site-specific work, performance lecture, a tour, audio drama, interactive, projection, game-based, participatory or durational – and a lot of things that have yet to be invented!

No experience necessary. Open to young people 15 to 25 from across South Yorkshire

Tickets: only £3! including refreshments thanks to support from our partnerships, The Writing Squad
Discounts: Hive is particularly keen to encourage young people who wouldn’t normally access this type of opportunity, and there are always discounts available for a number of tickets to support individuals who may be unable to pay in full, or to support travel costs within the region. Get in touch ASAP before places fill up if that sounds like you.

Booking: To book a place on this Writers’ Day, email kate@hivesouthyorkshire.com

Where: Sheffield Theatre Deli, 202 Eyre Street, Sheffield S1 4QZ (in the small retail park at the bottom of the Moor next to Office World. For street view click here

With support from The Writing Squad & Theatre Deli

Andy Cook is a writer, performer and theatre maker. A graduate of The Writing Squad, his practice revolves around staging text in new forms and exploring new audience-performer relationships. He graduated with a degree in English Literature with Creative Writing from the University of Birmingham and has made work across the country in theatre, installation, digital, sound, film, image.

In 2013 Andy founded Forest Sounds Theatre, a company that make politically and socially engaged work. The Stage said they’re a company that “breaks spine-bristling new ground”, and their five-star reviewed show ‘The Church of Jim’, has been shown in Sheffield, London, Bristol and Edinburgh.